Property, Home & Interior Property, Home & Interior Sun, 13 Jan 2016 03:25:11 +0000 en hourly 1 More branded residences to breach RM2,000 per sq ft? Sun, 13 Jan 2016 03:17:26 +0000 Ann Khee more]]>  

Several projects hope to follow the high-value footsteps of St Regis and The Banyan Tree KL although launches are tentative.

Ever since The St Regis Kuala Lumpur in KL Sentral and Banyan Tree Signatures Pavilion Kuala Lumpur blazed a trail with launches around the RM2,000 per sq ft mark in 2014, there have been several other projects also eyeing this market.

These include:

  1. Serviced apartments on top of the W Hotel on Jalan Ampang
  2. Ritz-Carlton Residences Kuala Lumpur next to Concorde Hotel
  3. Le Nouvel KLCC next to Avenue K
  4. RuMA serviced apartments near KLCC
  5. 8 Conlay on Jalan Conlay
  6. The Four Seasons Place next to KLCC

Even though the high-end KLCC market has been in the doldrums ever since the late 00s, it seems that remarkable sales have been achieved for the St Regis and Banyan Tree projects.


These are not your average high-end condos. They tout brands which most associate with hotels while offering furnished apartments (as at least an option) and concierge services.



“When we first started working on the St Regis Hotel and Residences, it was about bringing a new concept to Malaysia, a new product offering, a new type of quality and setting new benchmarks in pricing and quality,” says developer CMY Capital’s executive director Carmen Chua. CMY Capital also developed OneKL near KLCC, that is famous for offering a pool with every apartment.

“St Regis is about understanding what the top 5% of the market wants, not just the Malaysian market but internationally as well,” she says. “The brand standards imposed are so high that  cost of the hotel rooms has breached a new benchmark of RM2mil per room. The apartments would also be looking at a similar commitment to quality.”

Due to open in December 2014, about 65% of the apartments have been sold and the current prices average at about RM2,500 per sq ft. Built-up areas range from 820 sq ft for a luxurious studio apartment to 4,253 sq ft for a three bedroom apartment. Absolute prices range from RM2.1mil to RM10mil.

“We’ve even had people combining a 3-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 1-bedroom apartment together,” reveals Chua. With combined square footage of over 8,300 sq ft, these are buyers who are capable of dropping nearly RM17,000,000 in one go!

According to Chua, most of her buyers are Malaysian. “We sell from our own database, friends and people we know in Malaysia. That’s our core strength.”



When it comes to the Banyan Tree Signatures KL, meanwhile, all units were sold out not long after its launch at an average price of RM2,000 per sq ft, says its developer, Lumayan Indah Sdn Bhd.

“Even though many people are now talking about landed properties, you can see that when you have a good location and strong branding, there are still good opportunities,” says Tracey Lai, director of sales & marketing for 1 Pavilion Property Consultancy.  “If you look anywhere in the world, the CBD will always remain the most prime location. There’s a scarcity factor there.”

“Yield percentages are admittedly not at their peak, as in any global city,” says Lai. “If you look at returns in Hong Kong and Singapore, they are now at a lower percentage, maybe even 3% to 4%. Nevertheless, high net worth individuals are still looking for places to park their wealth and bricks and mortar is still seen as a safe haven… Ultimately, my portfolio of buyers are not first-time buyers; they are savvy buyers.”

Lai’s team is next working on the launch of Pavilion Couture Suites, as well as another project in Mont’Kiara. She suggests that the former may be priced at around RM2,500 per sq ft although she did not reveal when it may be launched.






In Dijaya’s project on the Bok House land on Jalan Ampang, the W Hotel will take up the lower floors while The Residences by Tropicana apartments will occupy the 25th to 53rd floors.

DTZ Nawawi Tie Leung Sdn Bhd managing director Eddy Wong is optimistic that this trend sees the high-end KLCC market ascending to the the next level. “Yes, most of the new developments being planned are looking at RM2,000 per sq ft and higher,” says Wong. “These projects offer a different value proposition; some are branded (Four Seasons Residences) while some are designed by reputable international architects (Ole Scheeren, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Jean Nouvel).”

According to Wong, unit sizes are also trending smaller and developers are paying more attention to space planning, and the overall living environment and lifestyle experience. “All these bodes well for the market and we think this is going to be an exciting year for the KLCC market, having being in consolidation mode for the past year or so,” he adds.


RM2,000 plus per sq ft but when?

Several other projects are also keeping mum on when they will be launched, however. A source close to Le Nouvel KLCC next to Avenue K is confident that prices may rise beyond RM2,400 per sq ft. Even though construction has begun, however, he could not intimate when sales would open.

Developed by Wing Tai Asia (also the developer of Verticas in Bukit Ceylon), this project bears the name of its French Pritzker-prize winning architect, Jean Nouvel, and offers 197 units of 3+1 and 4+1 bedroom apartments.

Similarly, hundreds of millions of ringgit has been spent by developer Berjaya Corporation Bhd on construction works for its Ritz-Carlton Residences next to Concorde Hotel, but no word has been released on when the 300 units will be launched.

When it comes to Dijaya Corp Bhd’s serviced apartments above its W Hotel project on Jalan Ampang, prices previously mentioned to the press hovered at around RM2,000 per sq ft. The developer has clarified, however, that the apartments will be managed by Dijaya rather than Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, which manages the W Residences brand.

Now known as The Residences by Tropicana, they will occupy the 25th to 53rd floors. Registration is open at and they will be launched “sometime this year”, according to a spokesperson.

Then there is that other high-profile branded residence– The Four Seasons next to KLCC–to be developed by a company jointly owned by the Sultan of Selangor, and businessmen Tan Sri Syed Yusof Syed Nasir and Ong Beng Seng. In the works since 2007, no official announcement on construction works has been made recently.



One that is scheduled to launch in March is Ireka Corp Bhd’s RuMa Hotel & Residences. Located on Jalan Kia Peng, where the Top Hat restaurant used to be, RuMa units are relatively mid-priced since most of the units are sized under 900 sq ft. With average pricing at about RM1,900 per sq ft, most units average at around RM1.7mil.

The apartments would be managed by “an award winning international hotel operator” with whom the agreement is being finalised, says the company’s spokesperson.


Not all branded residences are created equal?

St Regis’ Carmen Chua seems quick to set her development apart from the rest when we talk about this trend. She emphasises the pedigree of the St Regis brand, which was started in 1904 by the Astor family, which also established New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The St Regis is the highest brand in the Starwood portfolio and famous guests include ex-US president George Bush, People’s Republic of China President Hu Jintao and Marilyn Monroe.

Much ado is made about St Regis’ butlers, with each floor promising one dedicated butler. “I was in the St Regis Singapore and Hilary Clinton was staying there a couple of months ago,” relates Chua. “One of my friends works in the Department of State and when he walked in with Hilary, he introduced me to her. He said, you must come for the speech that she is giving tomorrow. I changed my flights but I had no dress. I actually sent the butler out to get a dress for me and it worked!”

Other services include a resident botanical service, which provides floral arrangements for your dinner parties or maintains your plants while you’re away. “My personal favourite is the grocery shopping and delivery,” she adds. “If you’re lazy to go out, you just call them up and they can buy for you your milk and eggs or whatever and stock up your fridge for you.”

Within the apartments, ceiling heights scale above 3m, walls are panelled with wood to achieve perfectly even surfaces, and included fittings include Bulthaup cabinets, Miele appliances, Lema wardrobes, as well as Toto toilet-bidets with covers that automatically lift upon sensing your presence.

All very attractive indeed. If as many sales as have been made on just the St Regis and Banyan Tree KL projects as have been divulged, however, that would make over 600 units priced over RM2mil, and some at RM10mil, committed to by buyers. Which can’t leave that many active buyers left in this rarefied realm of real estate. This perhaps explains why other developers are reticent on announcing dates for their launches.


“The critical factor influencing the timing of the property launches is the impending election, and its outcome,” suggests Wong. “It is understandable if some developers choose to launch after the elections.” Wong believes that once the market settles down after the elections, however, it will be business as usual.

Various commentators from PropertyTalk and Lifestyle group believe that this would have a positive effect on other KL city centre projects that come in at lower prices. ”Looks like Summer Suites (Phase 1), Face Platinum 1, SoHo Suites KLCC, ViPod KLCC and St Mary are good buys!,” said property blogger Patrick Chay.  Nancy Ng Property, meanwhile, said that RM2,000+ per sq ft projects are good news for her, since she is a Face Platinum suites owner.

Commentators from the PropertyWTF forum, meanwhile, seem to have the concensus that buyers of this segment are conscious of owning top tier properties, and consider such properties trophy buys. “Developers have to make [the perception of exclusivity] obscene as you only have a small elite market pool to fight for… the purchasers just want to be known as owning the most expensive property,” says Emyght who suspects some of these buyers to be millionaires from China.

Indeed, for those of us who don’t belong in such categories of buyers, RM2,000 per sq ft sure sounds like a mouthful to chew on, no matter how attractive the property, especially given the market segment’s recent history. Nevertheless, leasing out such properties would offer attractive income streams. And who hasn’t fantasised about living in a hotel where invisible hands cater to your every need?

Ultimately, be it for the general elections, inflation or the impact of globalisation, demand for such top tier properties could just be a waiting game, as is often said for the property market as a whole. And eventually, more and more of these bergamot-scented lobbies, butler serviced rooms and “branded” lifestyle packages will become a reality for at least some of the more well pampered of us.


[ Source: The Star dated January 10, 2016 by Chee Su-Lin ]



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PR1MA will not be governed under Housing Act. So we buy at own risk? Sun, 13 Jan 2016 02:44:21 +0000 Ann Khee more]]>  

This is a very important notice to current and future PR1MA home buyers. The report from The Sun Daily gave me a shock. Please read.




Property speculation still rife: HBA

PETALING JAYA (3 January 2016): There has been a lack of concrete measures by the government in tackling speculation in the property market as speculators are still acquiring multiple properties to be subsequently sold at huge profits with only minimal real property gains tax (RPGT), said National House Buyers Association (HBA) secretary-general Chang Kim Loong.

“As a result, property prices remain high and beyond reach for many Malaysians, especially young people just entering the work force and those starting a family. It (RPGT) was a blatant letdown to control a spiraling increase of house prices,” he told SunBiz in an email interview.

The increase in RPGT in Budget 2016 was revised from 10% to 15% for properties sold within two years and from 5% to 10% for properties sold between two and five years.

The association also expressed its concern over talks that the 1Malaysia Housing Programme (PR1MA) will not be governed under the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act, 1966 and its regulations.

Chang said if PR1MA is not governed under the Act, developers of PR1MA will not be regulated under the prevailing legislation and buyers will not be protected under the statutory sale and purchase agreements and will be unable to seek legal redress through the Tribunal for Home Buyers Claims.

“Why shouldn’t PR1MA be under the Ministry of Housing and Local Government? Has the government lost confidence in their own ministry or has lost faith in their effectiveness?

“We hope government can take strong measures to curb speculation and bring orderliness to the property sector rather than allow PR1MA be exploited,” he added.

Nevertheless, HBA supports the government’s move in amending the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act, saying it gives more protection to house buyers in the form of ‘criminalising abandoned housing projects’ and imposition of 3% as deposit to the controller of housing in the developer’s application for a developer’s licence.

“Another good move is the amendments to the Strata Titles Act which provides for delivery of vacant possession of stratified units together with the Certificate of Completion and Compliance and strata titles. Also, the enactment of the new Strata Management Bill is an excellent piece of legislation that provides comprehensive guidelines for the maintenance and management of strata properties,” said Chang.

As opposed to developers, Chang said the Build Then Sell (BTS) (10:90) system, which is mandatory from 2015, will significantly reduce home buyers’ risk of big financial loss and hardship arising from stalled, abandoned and shoddily constructed projects.

“More important, we hope the government will see through these events to their completion and allow these laws to come into force soonest. Also, we urge that a roadmap for BTS (10:90) be finalised so as to allow a ‘gradual phasing in’ instead of an abrupt change into BTS (10:90) when 2015 comes,” he added.

The Master Builders Association Malaysia, meanwhile, is calling for a quick implementation and award of mega projects such as the second mass rapid transit line for the Klang Valley as well as the Wawasan Merdeka, Tun Razak Exchange and River of Life projects in Kuala Lumpur this year, noting that bureaucracy can sometimes delay the physical implementation of projects.

“The outlook for the construction sector for 2016 will continue to be positive with the government and the private sector playing their respective roles,” said its president Matthew Tee.

“I am also sure everyone is very anxious to know the result of the upcoming general election, which would have a bearing on the status and implementation of government projects.”

But Tee is aware that the implementation of mega projects will worsen the shortage of skilled labour faced by the industry.

“Last year, the ultimate challenge faced by the industry was the shortage of skilled workforce which continues to be a problem (in 2016),” he added.

MBAM had previously appealed to the government to allow the construction sector to secure skilled workforce from more source countries.


Conclusion: We hope this aspect will be given proper attention by the government. Otherwise home buyers are buying at own risk, and these people are from lower income group, how much can they do if PR1MA housing projects gone wrong?



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Review: Hilton Hotel KL Sentral Tue, 08 Jan 2016 14:21:15 +0000 Ann Khee more]]>  

This is the first time we had a stay cation. It may seem weird for most people. Grown up in kl, still live in kl and still want to holiday in kl? Why not travel outside of kl? There are plenty of places to go within Malaysia.

In case, the word stay cation is too overwhelming, I’ll list the definition here according to Wikipedia.

” A stay cation is a neologism for a period in which an individual or family stays and relaxes at home, possibly taking day trips to area attractions.


The search for which hotel to stay took us some time. Well some are way beyond our budget. Plus during the super peak season in Christmas month, hotel rates go up every single day. I wish stock market are like this *wink.

We shortlist few hotels which are in the central of town. Either within walking distance to KLCC or Bukit Bintang. Reason? So we can just walk over the roads to eat! Simple. No stress. However we found out that many hotels don’t have baby/kids pool. We are going with a young child, of course a hotel with kids pool is top priority. Oh dear! That means we have to eliminate few preferred hotels.

In the end, we found Hilton Sentral.


Why Hilton Sentral? Because of its swimming pool! Yes. The pool is fantastic. Beautifully landscaped free form swimming pool with slide and water falls. The kids pool is tiled with white, so it does look like a white beach. While the adult’s pool is in the usual blue. Tell you, the slide is so popular that there are times, you need to queue for your turn.

Location wise, good. Just opposite KL Sentral. There is a covered walkway, so rain or shine, we can walk over anytime to eat. Yay! Within KL Sentral and the nearby Sooka Sentral, there are few decent restaurants which serves good food.

Our room is King Deluxe Lake View in 44m2. The bedroom is not that spacious, just okay, but the bathroom is huge. Bathroom is divided into 3 areas – rain shower area, bath tub and dresser, and wc. What we like about the bathroom is it’s openness. The bathroom has glass mirrored sliding doors. So imagine yourself soaking in hot bubble bath, overlooking the view … just awesome.

Let the photos explain itself now …


The Room.









We really like the huge rain shower. Can’t compare to the one we had at home *sob sob. Plus there’s a foldable plastic chair to sit while bath. Cool!



Bidet-styled toilet. No need hand bidet.








The Hotel.


A quick note: Hilton Hotel and Le Meridian Hotel are beside each other. In fact some of the facilities are shared eg. swimming pool and gym. From parking levels, take the lift to go up to lobby. Then enter left or right (of course based on which hotel you booked)  :)






View from our room (11th floor).





The swimming pool.











Stay cation can be quite relaxing. A quick break de-stress during the weekend. Looking forward for another one (possibly)  :)


Hilton Kuala Lumpur Hotel
3 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur.



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Pantai Panorama @Kerinchi Wed, 02 Jan 2016 07:00:03 +0000 Ann Khee more]]>  

From 22nd floor of The Park Residences condominium, my eyes stared at this building. The next door, older condominium – Pantai Panorama. Panorama is a freehold condominium located in Bukit Kerinchi in Pantai, right above the new development of Bangsar South.




Fast Facts:

  • Developed by AMDB
  • Completed in 1996 (16 years old)
  • 5 blocks
  • 18 storeys
  • 708 units


GOOD! Strategically located right in the middle between Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya. One can access to Federal Highway, Penchala Link and New Pantai Expressway with ease. For vivid shoppers, it is just minutes away from Mid Valley Megamall and Bangsar Village.


Panorama was used to be surrounded by squatter slums but now the slums are gone and being replaced by office complexes and condominiums. This Bangsar South neighbourhood is, of course, far more luxurious and pricey than Panorama.

Going uphill to Panorama, one will pass by some medium cost flats and apartments which may turn off some owners. Traffic can be very bad during peak hours with illegal parking along roadsides. Few hundred meters away, downhill is the Universiti LRT station. The country’s University Malaya is across the Federal Highway.

Panorama seems to be on the highest point in the Bukit Pantai area. This gives the condominium panoramic views of Kuala Lumpur and the Petaling Jaya (should be, since the condominium is named Panorama). However the taller buildings that are coming up in the Bangsar South area are sure to block whatever beautiful view.


From far, I notice that although Panorama is a 16 years old condominium, the maintenance of the building is very well done. I believe the owners and management is doing a good job to maintain the place.


A quick check, Panorama is asking for RM550/sqft. Wow. If were to choose, I would prefer the newer and lower density condo next door – The Park Residences @ Bangsar South. At least, it has a better “name and brand”!  :)




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Happy New Year 2016 Wed, 02 Jan 2016 06:54:32 +0000 Ann Khee more]]>  



Happy New Year and best wishes to everyone. Thank you for the continuous support. Let’s make 2016 a spectacular year. Cheers!   :)



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Kewlox Cabinets gives FREE RM15,000 worth furniture Mon, 17 Dec 2015 15:18:48 +0000 Ann Khee more]]>  




Kewlox Extreme Shop Make-Over Promo

As simple as 123…

  • All you need to do is to download, read, fill out and submit the Extreme Make-Over application form.
  • Fill out your details, sign and email to or fax to 03-2201 2544.
  • This promo is valid till February 15th 2016, after which Kewlox Cabinets will announce the lucky winning shop.

Pre-requisite requirement: Of course, you must have a shop in the first place to join in the contest. Well, too bad, I don’t have any. Sigh. To be honest, if I have a shop, I won’t share this info with you guys. Less one person knows about it means less one person “fighting” the furniture with me (Hahaha! Just kidding…).

Alright. Click here to download the details and application form. Good Luck!



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Checking out The Park Residences @Bangsar South Thu, 13 Dec 2015 15:14:32 +0000 Ann Khee more]]>  

A friend of mine has a unit in The Park Residence at Bangsar South. Quickly I made a visit to check out  :)


Do I want to stay here? At the moment, I don’t find the condominium tempting (personal opinion).

  • Bangsar South is actually in Pantai Dalam. What’s next door? There are plenty of medium cost apartments which makes it less attractive to me.
  • Bangsar South is a huge development project with The Village (property gallery and F&B outlets), The Horizon (offices) and The Sphere (shopping and entertainment). Ok, let’s start with The Village. The Park Residence is just beside The Village. So near that we can walk there to dine. But the limited F&B outlets turned us down. Basically there are only 3 outlets: Oldtown White Coffee, Secret Recipe and Sid’s Pub. So for more selection, do drive to The Sphere. The Sphere is more suitable for quick, emergency buys – not so complete. The best is drive a little further to Mid Valley Mega Mall or Bangsar.
  • Security wise? 3-tier security which is good. However during our first visit, the card access at lift lobby was not working well. Luckily the loophole problem had been rectified in our subsequent visit. Sometimes technology can break down too.
  • I’m not sure if there is any public or private schools nearby. Got to check.
  • The occupancy rate is still low at the moment.


In the eyes of an investor?

  • I guess the demand for rental is there. My friend bought her 1,485 sqft unit last year at RM800k (secondary market). She is able to rent it out to a Korean expat at RM4k per month. Enough to cover her instalment and maintenance fee.
  • However due to it’s location (less strategic), some prospective tenants prefer KL city centre or Mont Kiara. Well it goes down to where are their work offices and how convenient for them to travel to work. That’s the feedback received from potential tenants who visited.
  • More medium to high end office suites are under construction. Bangsar South maybe a good choice for investment with a big catchment of working professionals.








The facilities …

There is an infinity pool. Great! But the pool is at ground level, so there isn’t much “view” from there. Furthermore there are ongoing construction sites beside. I feel it’s a little wasted. It would be better if the pool is at higher floors. The Park Residence has 2 blocks (Acacia and Begonia) and both blocks share the same facilities. So I guess they have to plan the facilities in such way.

On the kids part, there is a kids pool and playground.













How’s inside the condo?

I like the airy, spacious corridor and huge doors. Thanks to the high ceiling, the condo is actually very airy and windy too.

There’s enough room in the balcony. But I’m a little concern over the glass panels. You know, my friend’s unit is at 22nd floor, to be honest, I feel insecure with just a steel bar and glass panels. Can you accept this kind of modern design? I’m plain practical when it comes to safety, especially when I have a young child.






So, what do you think? Is Bangsar South worth investing? Share your thoughts yah.




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Cartoony signages in Publika Thu, 13 Dec 2015 09:48:30 +0000 Ann Khee more]]>  

This was what happened in Publika one fine day. I was heading to the ladies. This caught me with surprise!  :D

So cute, or rather a cartoony way of “labelling”. There’s no need for signs ie. Ladies, Gents and Disable.


” A picture paints a thousand words. “






This is the best one!  I only realized who VVIP are referring to, after the second visit (ish.. ish.. I’m not that observant). If the toilet is full and you are desperate to answer for nature’s call, don’t even attempt to enter VVIP room. A fierce jaga is watching :p


For more artsy insprirations, head to Publika Mall at Solaris Dutamas. There’s always a surprise as the decors are changed frequently.



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Tune Hotel Penang: A Review Fri, 07 Dec 2015 14:58:18 +0000 Ann Khee more]]>  

Last month I had my first experience staying in Tune Hotel. Initially I was a little skeptical to try out a low cost budget hotel. Hmm… why not? Let’s try. Perhaps I was coming from no expectation, after a night’s stay, the hotel weighted beyond my expectation. If you don’t mind the mini size, Tune Hotel has a lot to offer.


Narrow road leading to the hotel’s parking areas. The only and very “small” car park area behind Tune Hotel which I suspect can only occupy less than 20 cars. Try your luck, otherwise you can always park at the paid parking areas in New World Park.





Tune Hotel Penang is conveniently located in central downtown of Georgetown. Just beside the hotel is New World Park. If you are unaware, New World Park is an open street mall concept that offers unique dining and shopping experience. There are Starbucks, Old Town Kopitiam and the ever-popular Food Court, just to name a few.






Decent lift lobby to Reception/Lobby at 2nd Floor. The lobby is considerably big, bright and comfortable. There is free internet access at lobby. Sofas at waiting area.









We got a double room with queen size bed. Psst.. the bed and pillows are comfortable. I got a surprised when I saw a safe box in one of the side tables. Very clever. How many budget hotels provide a safe box for their guests? Due to limited space, there is no wardrobe. Only a steel hanging bar for us to hang our clothes. There is a cute foldable table if you need to do some writing or to put your laptop. Curtains come in single layer but good enough as they are thick black-out curtains. Guarantee no morning sun glare if you wake up late  :p












Let’s have a look at the bathroom. Though the size and space is small, I could say that the bathroom is fully equipped. In fact, I didn’t expect to see rain shower in a budget hotel. I was actually more relief to see a hair dryer!








A decent, modern and safe hotel within affordable budget. We paid RM80 for a double room. Plus RM16 for 12 hours air-con and towel toiletries kit, bringing to a total of RM96 per night! Definitely worth it.

Well, Tony Fernandez has live up to his philosophy. Everyone can have a holiday!


Tune Hotel – Downtown Penang
Address: 100 Burmah Road, George Town, Penang
Tel: 04-2275807




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Is it a good time to prepare a war chest? Fri, 07 Dec 2015 14:16:28 +0000 Ann Khee more]]>  



The next six months …

In such volatile times, what should people invest in? What will the next six months, or one year, hold?

The last couple of weeks, two developers suggested it may be a good time, or a good idea, to prepare a war chest. That means, liquidate some assets and get ready some cash. There may be something worthwhile to pick up in the next six months, they said.

Soon after that conversation, a real estate professional help to put the pieces of puzzle together.

Consider the following:

  • Barack Obama has retained his presidency. That means status quo in the United States, recovery will be fragile.
  • Spain may need a bailout. Eurozone may plummet further.
  • In October, Hong Kong joined Singapore in efforts to cool soaring property prices by targeting non-residents. The Singapore and Hong Kong property markets are two of the most robust in Asia. Foreign funds like both these markets.

Let us come back to our local property market. Two real estate professionals say the secondary property market, which one buys from owners and not from developers, has been slow the last six months.

Some say it is good that the market is taking a breather. Others say it is a sign of the times.

The valuer says a weak secondary mortgage market is an indication that there are weaknesses in the overall property market. The new launches, however, remain attractive partly because of the various freebies and developer’s interest-bearing schemes.

The primary market, where one buys from the developer, remains strong because under the interest-bearing schemes other than a 10% downpayment, they do not need to pay until the project is complete, she reasons. Under construction properties have higher risk than completed ones.

Hong Kong and Singapore have put in place measures to deter purchases by non-residents because the third round of quantitative easing (QE3) by the US has induced a flight to risky assets and he considers property as one of them.

That seems to go against the grain of what many think today. The last couple of years, one of the reasons for the rise in property prices was because real estate was considered as “safe” and a good hedge against inflation.

The safe assets, he says, are inflation indexed bonds, treasury bonds and government securities. The flight to the East to risky assets and to properties is a signal for all of us to take note. This was confirmed by an economist who says when the flight reverses, the situation will be severe.

Malaysia seems to be chugging along well. Will Malaysia be able to withstand the onslaught, notwithstanding “the good news”, “feel good” factors today?

Properties look attractive because of the economic conditions around the world and because of the threat of looming inflation on the horizon. Property being a good hedge is a perception, the property professional says.

This flight to Hong Kong and Singapore may happen in a bigger scale in the next six months to one year, he says. That is what both Singapore and Hong Kong governments are trying to stem out.

This flight to the East may create, grow and burst bubbles. Some of that money have slipped into Malaysia and it is up to regulators to keep an eye on the situation.

The solution is to create investment avenues. This is not easy for governments to do and it takes time.

Why create that war chest then if there is so much risk and volatility floating around? The days of long-term investments are over. To be wise in today’s volatile times, one may have to be a trader, or a sort of trader. Have a basket of goods, and hopefully one balances out the other.

The holiday season is around the corner. A new year is about to begin. The investing template, like the investment climate, has changed.

As reported by The Star’s Deputy editor Thean Lee Cheng, who wonders if our financial planning professionals are reading the signals.


[ Source: The Star dated Nov 10, 2015 ]



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